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X-Com really does exist.
Much of my evidence is gleaned from this.

Now, all we need to do is wait for the declassification of their secret documents.

X-COM is a Deconstruction of monster and alien-fighting cartoons
Look at things like G.I. Joe and Transformers, where you have an elite team of heroes able to travel anywhere in the world to fight cheesy villains and win despite having inferior technology and numbers. Then look at X-COM, who travel the world in a Cool Plane to fight goofy-looking aliens... and suffer a high fatality rate, have barely enough funding, and have to desperately struggle just to get good enough weapons to fight half the things that keep coming down.
  • This is genius.
    • The intro animation of first game is indeed done in cartoon style. Complete with few "lies" like Mutons got killed by rifle and Muton Commander.
  • This is less a WMG and more almost explicitly stated.

There's a Chrysalid behind you.
Yeah, I'm just being silly. Or Am I?
  • Thanks, I haven't got up to them yet and the Sectoids have already set off my fear of The Greys. *closes all doors*
  • You wicked bastard.
  • Yeah thanks, that's just what I need at half past midnight. Chrysalids have never scared me outside the game in 15 years, but now...
Just kidding, it's not behind you. It's behind me. *ACK*

There's a Chrysalid inside you.
It was injected through your last flu shot, laying dormant and waiting for a chance to burst out. Can't you feel it crawling around somewhere?
  • Frack - I thought that was stress induced acid indigestion. Will I still be able to drink beer as a zombie?
  • Jokes on you, I've never had a flu shot.

Chrysalids are an engineered species, produced in vats.
By Fridge Logic: You don't get a Chrysalid Apocalypse if you abandon a terror mission with Chrysalids in it, so they must lose the ability to make more Chrysalids after a few generations. Since the Chrysalids aren't extinct, someone must be cloning them.
  • More or less confirmed: most every Terror Unit either covers its master race's weaknesses or capitalizes on a weaponizable part of its biology (here, the Snakemen's rapid reproduction). Since it'd obviously be a bad idea to leave a standing army of the things around (barring the final assault on Cydonia, of course), it'd make much more sense to clone Chrysalids on demand or keep advance batches cryo-frozen for loading onto Terror UFOs.
  • Another popular pair of theories is that either the Chrysalids have a very fast/short lifespan after being brought to maturity, or that their incredible speed comes at the price of having incredbile metabolism, which means that they die if they are unable to feed for too long.
  • One could justify the incredible maturation of new Chrysalids by suggesting that the implanted egg carries a lot of very dense biological fuel to run the transformation. Enough to propagate two or three generations, but no more.
    • Likewise, any good militarized grey goo should have a generation limit built into it.

X-Com was a token effort never expected to succeed.
Any agency tasked with defending the Earth from an extra-terrestrial incursion, especially one with an absolute United Nations mandate funded by the world's leading countries, would receive much more than six million dollars a month. . . if anyone was taking them seriously. X-Com was a diplomatic front, a show of unity without any teeth; the world's powers were really stockpiling behind each other's backs to defend themselves unilaterally. X-Com's diligent commander succeeded in spite of the international community, never receiving complete support from any of the world's countries.
  • This also explains why countries continue to send X-Com useless rookies instead of elite commandos.
    • They are the elite commandos - even a rookie can make an aimed shot 65%+ of the time. They are just rookies when it comes to alien warfare:
    X-COM Veteran:I don't care how good you were in the SEALS/SAS/Spetsnaz, these are Chrysalids, soldier, and if you don't listen to me you WILL end up with a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong.
    • Alternately, other nations send X-COM their "problem elites" — men who are certainly qualified to belong to their Special Forces programs but have developed major psychological problems in the process. This also conveniently explains the high incidence of friendly fire "accidents."
  • Terror from the Deep takes this up to eleven. With the original X-COM disbanded, they leave it to the underwater UFO salvage team, who are forced to start from square one.

The military actually are helpful and the Chrysalids really would take over the planet left unchecked.
In case you can't put two and two together, the military sets up a perimeter around the terror mission and waits for XCOM to arrive (because XCOM are specifically trained to take down aliens, the military are not.) If XCOM never arrive, or fail to save the day, the military steps in and kills off any aliens, preventing the threat from overriding the country. The reason the military don't step in anyway is because they aren't trained to fight against aliens, and there is less risk if a small force goes in, especially later on in the game when XCOM have psychic super soldiers but the military still has lightly armored riflemen.
  • Not a bad theory, but I always thought that if you don't succeed, the military just bomb the area clean.
    • They'd have to. Some aliens have armor that makes them impervious to bullets.
  • Actually this is what I've been thinking - thats why battle maps are so limited in size - you are like the Special Forces who actually do the hostage rescue stuff - eg the SAS at the Iranian Embassy in 1980.

The intro to the first and second games are inuniverse XCOM media
  • The first alien war was turned into a cartoon by some animation company, but nobody liked it because it was disrespectful to XCOM and it was completely inaccurate (Muton Commanders?). Long after that cartoon was cancelled and the second alien war had passed, somebody filmed a 50's style horror movie based around the second alien war, which, judging from the bits we see of it, was much more accurate and respectful, but the acting sucked.

X-com is set in the 40k universe
I swear, the laser rifle looks almost exactly like a laser rifle in 40k.
  • Genestealers are Chryssalids with an extra set of arms and functional teeth instead of a frozen Slasher Smile. I don't know which one is scarier, honestly.

'XCOM' is currently undergoing a massive emergency mid-development Retool.
We've all seen how the reactions to the previews are pretty much universally negative, and not in a useful way. Even 2k's own forums seen to be have surprisingly few blind defenders- most of which are only turning public opinion more against the same. ("If this is the kind of idiot that defends the game...") It hasn't helped that 2k's PR department seems to have gone into lockdown mode, causing fans to assume the worst in the absence of proof otherwise.

Thus, it's not unlikely that the developers have also seen this very bad reaction, and have realised that X-COM fans are not the kind of fans that will buy the game anyway if they're still playing the original after 15 years. If they have any sense they'll realise they have a potential flop on their hands, and are currently scrapping some or most of their original plans to turn it into a game that people might actually want to buy. This could go two ways: looking back at the original games and trying to implement more features that at least are recognisable from them so the game seems less In Name Only, or going the other direction and trying to build on other elements (perhaps playing up the BioShock connection) that will actually interest people who weren't interested in X-COM.

I know it sounds like wishful thinking, but there's got to be a reason for the information blackout.

  • Yeah, you know the developers have screwed up when most of the posters on the game's own forums seem to hate it. The few that defend it strenuously (at least one of them doing so in such a hard-headed, reason-resistant and blindly optimistic fashion that one could be forgiven for thinking them to be a paid shill) have been noticably quieter since it came out that one of the lines of fan speculation was true, ie: that the game was not originally an X-Com game, but seems to have had the name slapped on in a bizzare attempt to increase appeal. I feel that most likely all they'll do is shoehorn in a bunch of references that mess with canon but still suggest it's set in the original universe (like there'll be a stinger cinematic at the end revealing that it was all a Sectoid scout mission/experiment). I think a retool would be a bit too costly for a B-Studio at this point, especially one that's already expensive due to being situated in Australia.
    • The aforementioned hard-headed, reason-resistant, blindly optimistic defender? The E3 2011 Trailer disappointed him to the point of depression.
  • Wouldn't the cheapest and easiest option be to change the name?
  • Remember, Viewers Are Morons, if they change the name now 'all of the people will be confused!'
  • I'll be considerably less angry if they are able to fit it into the canon without any retcons. But then I'd still be pissed about everything else.
  • Um, guys, have you seen the latest trailer or checked the updates on the official site any time recently? Flame me if you must, but judging by those two sources I'd say that one of two things is happening:
    • One, 2K is listening to the fans who were disappointed by the initial information and has been tweaking the development in response to their criticism, or
    • Two, 2K was planning to incorporate classic gameplay elements (e.g., hiring/firing staff, doing research, building and equipping bases, the "battlescape" view, etc.) all along, but didn't want to tip their hand.
  • All they've really done is swap the points-based research camera for a points-based pickup mechanic, added the ability to hack enemies and zap powers via an interface ripped off from the Mass Effect games, and labeled what are effectively your mana points "TUs" in a sad attempt to quiet the longtime fans.
    • And you know this . . . how, exactly? Because I have yet to see any mention of that anywhere except here.
      • The latest round of previews have covered these factors repeatedly.

The reboot is in fact all part of a plot to revive the strategy series.
At the moment, FPS are considered the most popular genre with the largest audience. Reviving an apparently dead franchise is tough enough. The whole reboot is a plan to bring back brand recognition, and once the FPS is a hit, then they can use that as a launch point for reviving the classic gameplay.
  • Such a plan seems too problematic. I mean, X-COM fans have vocally declared their opposition to the reboot, so unless XCOM 2.0 delivers to their expectations, it's gonna flop. What I think the new game should do (if it has to be a shooter) is be squad-based, putting you in the position of a team leader, performing the various types of missions. Laser weapons would be gradually introduced, then Plasma weapons. If they feel the need to break up gameplay, then they can start missions with Interceptor routines.
  • As I said above, judging by the 2011 E3 trailer and updates to the official site, it looks like either A) they've been taking the criticism into account and tweaking development to respond to it, or B) they were planning to incorporate classic gameplay elements all along and didn't want to tip their hand. (Mind you, that doesn't seem to have stopped people from shouting "RUINED FOREVER!" thanks to the bad taste left by that other so-called X-Com FPS . . . )
  • LOLno, it's not just enforcer ruining this - a lot of us were quite happy to look forward to the cancelled Alliance, mostly because we ere secure in the knowledge that we'd be getting a TBS (Genesis) too. As I mentioned above, 2K's game still has nothing more than the barest resemblance to X-Com. They've completely failed to address the stand-out complaints; That it had nothing to do with the old canon (they completely ignored that one) and that it was nothing like as tactical and cerebral as an X-Com game should be (they made the merest nod towards that one by turning combat into a three-man puzzlegame where you manipulate enemy reactions via powers, rather than the realistic large-squad battlefield tactics most of the fans were clamouring for)
  • A great big "No" from 2K Boss, Christoph Hartmann
    • As an addendum, his assertions, thankfully, seem to have been overruled. One wonders if he was even made aware of Firaxis' game, which is rumoured to have been in development for a while now.
    • -CK YEAH

X-Com personnel aren't selected based on talent
The reason recruits are so incompetent for the cream of the entire world's special forces crop is because… That's not what they are. Rather, since X-Com is such a top secret organization, they're the most combat-capable people with a security clearance high enough to be trusted knowing about X-Com's existence, and possibly even of a sufficiently apolitical nature to end up in such an international organization. Due to X-Com's typical tactics, the bottom of the barrel starts getting scraped pretty fast.

The alien invasion in XCOM has multiple epicenters / XCOM takes place in an alternate timeline/dimension from the original series
  • These seem to be a distinct possibility, especially considering that a recent interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun seems to indicate that XCOM is intended to expand beyond the borders of the United States. To wit:
    Jonathan Pelling: ...What we’re ultimately suggesting, I guess, is that whilst XCOM starts small, it eventually grows, forged in the fire of combat, to something that’s capable of encompassing the globe. (Emphasis added.)

Similar to the above, the reboot XCOM is meant to be the Secret History of the original series and justify some of the Zee Rust canon
  • I, for one, haven't played the original X-Com series in ages (memo to self: get it from Steam or something, relive younger days), but if memory serves, the technology (even before the surprisingly-fast reverse-engineering) of X-Com seemed 10 to 15 years ahead of what the "real world" ended up having in the late 90s. The reason? The United States government's original XCOM team (as opposed to the multinational X-COM team) of the mid-twentieth century had itself gotten ahold of some alien tech, and as a result the technology was increased. The success of this US XCOM team led to a American suggesting to the representatives in Geneva that a international version should be founded.
  • No, the developers are on record as having explicitly stated that it's set in a seperate universe with an unrelated story, which makes sense because it's a project that they've had on the backburner since before ''VideoGame/BioShock'' that they only decided to tag with the "XCOM" label a fair way into development. Even if they went back on their word after the backlash, it'd still screw with canon, considering the original X-Com was a multinational concern inspired not by some American suggestion, but by the Japanese Kiryu-Kai Anti-Alien fighting force. Additionally, the aliens in 2K's new game appear far more advanced than even the aliens from the original X-Com (seriously, they're morphing computronium-style living technology with some kind of built-in portal tech), meaning they'd have to do some pretty heavy explaining-away when it came to addressing why technology as of 1999 wasn't centuries ahead of our timeline due to scavenged alien tech rather than simply a decade or so.
  • A few possibilities as to why that's the case:
    • One, XCOM knows that the weapons and technology it's held onto from the Black Blocks incidents are more potent than anything else yet developed, but they lack the resources to manufacture them in significant quantities.
    • Two, the alien invaders' equipment is powered by energy shunted through the portals they use to get to Earth. Seal those portals, and the weapons stop working. (This, if memory serves, was also supposed to be one of the plot points of X-Com: Apocalypse - but I digress.)
    • Three, the initial research options that you have available to you in X-Com: UFO Defense - as well as the ability of X-Com's initial radar installations to detect UFOs with relative ease (at least, compared to standard civilian and military radar installations) - are a direct result of the US XCOM agency assessing what captured alien technology would be worth pursuing for further development and refinement and what wouldn't be. Man-portable laser weapons? Sure! Giant floating satellite dishes made out of black blocks that can fire energy beams? Awesome, but impractical. A computer that can track anomalous radar signals which might indicate alien activities? Definitely an advantage. Spider tanks made out of glossy black material held together by weird energy bonds? See "floating satellite dish".
    • And on a side note, the Japanese Kiryu-Kai was one of the most dismal failures of the First Alien War - at least, according to the manual for X-Com: Interceptor:
    "Many countries begin to contemplate a direct military strike against the aliens. Japan, taking the lead with it's stereotypical blind bravery and courage, forms the 'Kiryu-Kai', an anti-alien combat force. After five months of operation, using the best equipment available, the group is unable to intercept even a single UFO. Due to lack of funding, Japan is forced to disband the Kiryu-Kai in November of 1998." (Emphasis mine, source here: Background - Enemy Unknown)
  • A) Any one of those reasons is going to look pretty contrived if they try to use it, dontchathink? Especially since it was obviously never mentioned in the original game's UFOpaedia. Number two even brings up the question of why such tech was a new and confusing thing in Apoc, which is just going to require another contrivance to explain it. B) The Kiryu Kai may have been a failure (leading speculation seems to be that it was due to international borders, as they explicitly had the "best equipment available"), but it did seem to provide the inspiration for X-Com, being a force based on direct military action against the aliens, even to the point of attempted UFO interceptions. Also, once again, they've said it has nothing to do with the old series universe.
  • Not necessarily. Consider the 1632 universe: while modern technology (machine guns, trucks, speedboats, etc.) is far more advanced than anything available during the Thirty Years' War, keeping that level of technology is impractical at best given what's commonly available in the 17th century. With that in mind, consider this: the aliens might be light-years ahead of humanity technologically, but they probably have the infrastructure to maintain that level of technology on a widespread scale while 1960's humanity doesn't. Similarly, keep in mind that the alien tech from Apocalypse was organic - if memory serves, the UFOpedia even specified that the aliens' weapons and ships were grown, not built. Just because two different alien races use technology dependent on dimensional conduits, that doesn't necessarily mean that understanding a mechanical-technological approach to creating and maintaining them will let you understand a organic-technological approach to the same thing. And last, but not least: according to the manual for Interceptor, all of the disparate attempts at anti-alien action were failures. The Kiryu-Kai was notable for being the biggest failure of the lot, specifically because their Cool Tech didn't do diddlysquat for them. If any of the disparate anti-alien responses had been effective, the UN wouldn't have needed to throw together a hastily-assembled Extraterrestrial Combat Unit in a top-secret, closed-doors meeting of the Security Council - more likely, they would have asked that whichever agency had proven itself effective expand its operational area to the rest of the UN's member states and work with their respective military forces.
  • Still sounds like a real stretch to me, meaning a major retcon if they try to shoehorn their plot into the past of the original games - one would think the slightly futuristic late 90's depicted in the original game would have contained people willing to deal with the tech from the earlier invasion - heck, you'd think the last 37 years would have all sectors of industry devoted to unlocking its secrets, with the guys who manged to use it to defeat an earlier invasion at the top. Not to mention the fact that the invasion in previews is not something a country would just forget - the aliens have an actual battlefront progressing across the country, behind which population centers are simply being eliminated as the aliens xenoform the planet, leaving giant spires and floating blocks of their living tech stuff behind them. I'm afraid I'm going have to stick with the prior comments about the unrelatedness of the game universe until further notice. I'm personally pretty sure the developer comments about the operation possibly "expanding" are just intended to placate the fans who are complaining about the focus on America, BTW - basically "Wait until the sequel... XCOM: Europe!" rather than "It turns into X-Com from the original games". I've actually seen a slightly more palatable theory on the 2K forums, albeit it's still kinda hokey: The whole game is Carter unknowingly playing a virtual reality simulation designed to test the abilities of humans and discern whether or not they're a threat - hence the "computery" appearance of the aliens. At the end he wakes up on board an alien battleship commanded by an Ethereal, and has to crash it into the moon or something, delaying the invasion until 1999, but also losing any info on the aliens as he makes his heroic sacrifice. And so what if they were all failures :P? The Kiryu Kai was the most notable, the one that gets mentioned, and the one that specifically gets its similarities to X-Com pointed out as a sideline to a comparison between the isolated attempt and the communal effort. It was likely at the forefront of the minds of the people involved in the preliminary discussions that created X-Com, if they were at all well-informed. Besides which, isn't that basically edging towards an argument that the US-only "XCOM" would be destined to fail?
  • . . . Now that's an interesting theory. XCOM is all in Carter's mind and an alien supercomputer? Could work, could work indeed (and it'd be an awesome "Take That!" at the people who are screeching that XCOM will ruin the series forever). On the other hand, though, XCOM might not turn into the exact same thing we know from the original series, but something remarkably similar - but instead of XCOM being a hastily-assembled, last-ditch effort put together by a panicky UN Security Council, NATO and the Warsaw Pact join forces in the face of the unknown enemy and the US XCOM division begins advising other countries on how best to deal with the alien invasion. Same basic principle - a multinational alien-fighting team - just with a different origin story.
  • I think it'd be less of a take that, and more either a sad attempt at appeasement or a revoltingly cheesy wink that says "We know what you actually wanted, but we were fixated on doing our own thing because we've been working on this storyline since before it was even called "XCOM"" - like calling the three-man helicopter in the game "The Skyranger" (and before that, the car was "The Interceptor", and briefly, according to some interviews, "The Enforcer"). It'd be a bad choice because it'd just remind players of what they weren't getting, especially if newbies have been playing the old games to get a feeling for the series, or do so afterwards. But at least it wouldn't require a massive retcon. As for the America Invents X-Com idea... No, I would prefer not, honestly. I liked the original X-Com's default creation by a multinational council, with no mention of which country floated the idea. Yes, it was probably inspired by the Kiryu-Kai, but at least it was inspiration and not some kind of "international upgrade" of something American that was already named "XCOM", with the US in a position of power due to having a knowledge advantage.

The "cannon" shells fired from the Auto-Cannon (and possibly the Heavy Cannon) are actually Gyrojets
  • Haven't got much for this except that Gyrojets have a lot less recoil than standard bullets, being basically spin-stabilised rockets, and I'm pretty sure recoil was the main barrier (along with ammo weight, but that doesn't necessarily matter with something that only holds 14 shots) to man-portable miniguns, which the Auto-Cannon certainly resembles. The weapon itself might also be lighter if this is the case, as Gyrojet projectiles don't require quite the same amount of strength and thickness to counteract gas pressure; in fact, gyrojet pistols, at least, have tiny gas ports all down the length of the barrel. The Heavy Cannon could be similar, or it could be, as I believe has been suggested in the past, a flat-trajectory grenade launcher (with optional flechette rounds, possibly with a booster system taking the space and weight that a warhead usually would).
  • That . . . actually kind'a makes sense.
  • Also, I've often wondered why the Heavy Cannon has such a thick barrel, with what appears to be some kind of shroud and hints of small pipes. If it fires Gyrojets, then it might actually be a sealed gas transfer system - apparently one problem with Gyrojets in the field was that they used to get mud and grit blocking their venting ports, leading to speculation that later versions (which never appeared due to Gyrojets gaining a reputation for inaccuracy that eventually turned out to be due to a simple ammo manufacturing error, one that could easily have been rectified if it had been spotted) would have a vent-sealing system. Possibly the HC (and maybe even the AC - it has pretty thick barrels compared to the ammo, too) has some kind of gas-catching baffle system around the barrel, that keeps it clean while also protecting the user from the hot exhaust gasses that such a large Gyrojet "shell" would almost certainly produce. The "crack" sound of it firing would also be no barrier to this being a Gyrojet - at least some of said projectiles were capable of supersonic velocity, making miniature sonic booms as they flew downrange.

The reboot will be a good game, it just won't be a X-Com game.
And that will be in some ways even worse than if it ends up flopping: if it flops they might be forced to eventually change back to something more like the originals, but if it ends up being good and sells well, they'll stick with this new "BioShock meets Mass Effect with the X-Com brand name thrown in" formula and the odds of us ever seeing a official old-style X-Com game again go poof.
  • Given that the "secret project" that Firaxis has been working on has just recently been revealed to be a turn-based part of the series' revival, I think we can safely consider this particular Epileptic Tree chopped down. (However, absent any indications to the contrary, it does seem to lend credibility to the theory that the XCOM Division of the FPS serves as a template for the X-Com force in Firaxis' contribution.)
    • Kinda doubt that last part, mate, but I see the guys on the 2K forums have put it better than I could, what with all the stuff on the tech disparity and that. Personally I think it just seems to unecessary to tie them together. I guess we'll see...
      • Looks like XCOM and XCOM: Enemy Unknown are in the same universe after all - just not the same universe as UFO Defense, Terror From The Deep, etc.
      • Nope.

The first weapons you develop in the XCOM Shooter will be the auto cannon and the heavy cannon as the free tech, like the laser from Ufo Defense.
The first weapon in the trailers "Turn their technology against them" is a rail/coil cannon. The heavy cannon is a semi automatic man portable cannon capable of punching through tank armor. The auto-cannon is an automatic version capable of delivering a 2 meter blast 9 times per second. Both are beyond current human technology, and would be highly impractical if they were conventional weapons. Allowing for minor continuity in between the games.
  • I'm pretty sure we do, in fact, have man-portable antimateriel and explosive weapons like that, and have had them for a while, including stuff like the MK 19 automatic grenade launcher (5 rounds per second, but in any case I'm not sure combat turns are actually as short as a single second in X-Com/UFO - I would have guessed five seconds each, at least) which has been with us since 1968, has an effective range of nearly one and a half kilometers, and is about small enough to be heftable in the 50s-60s-themed action-movie world the FPS appears to be trying to give us (and its predecessor was apparently much lighter). But then, I don't personally think they're literal cannon, anyway (see above).

X-COM eventually became the Earth Defense Force.
When full invasion seemed inevitable, X-COM went public, leading to the creation of the Earth Defense Force.

The final mission of the 2012 reboot will involve attacking the alien mothership

The whole concept of Hero Units is a leftover from when the Dev Team got sucked into the game.
  • What happened was that during development the entire dev team and Sid Meier got sucked into the game. However since they were all technically the creators of that world and therefore God they managed to hack their own stats and beat the game to go back to our world. However Sid sacrifice himself to save that Earth. Which is why the Volunteer did so at the end mirroring Sid's actions. However since this is Sid Meier we're talking about he had an Unexplained Recovery.

Where did the snakemen go?
  • Snakemen were oddly missing from the remake. There was also only one addition to the roster of new alien species. The Thin Men. Which are reptilian in origin. Thin Men are literally genetically engineered Snakemen. There's where they are. Now to go prove that the cafeteria food in X Com headquarters is actually celatids and silacoids.
    • So that explains why they introduced "mystery meat" last week.
    • Confirmed by XCOM 2. The Snakemen are back as Vipers with the implication that they were originally repurposed into the Thin Men and changed again since they were no longer necessary as an infiltration unit.

The reason why XCOM lost all it's technology between The Bureau and Enemy Unknown... (Assuming that the statement from The Bureau team saying the game is a prequel to Enemy Unknown is canon)
is because of the Cold War. Considering that The Bureau takes place in the 60's, it's completely possible that after the events of that game occurred, the FBI destroyed all evidence of the events of the game occurring to hide it from the USSR, thus destroying all technology present (as in that game, XCOM is clearly a division of the FBI.) While this does not explain how XCOM became an international organization in Enemy Unknown, it does explain why all the technology that game disappeared by that time.